Jam Tales: Wilbert Longmire
Updated: Dec 31, 2020
On January 14, 2018 I came home from a gig and learned of the death of Wilbert Longmire. He was an awesome jazz guitarist on Bob James' Tappan Zee record label in the late '70's.
He played in the George Benson vein - straight ahead Jazz but with a lot of Blues and Black Gospel sensibilities. As a matter of fact, he and George Benson were friends - it was George that got him the record deal with Bob James.
On February 14, 2010 at the Saturday afternoon jam at BBs I noticed this guy at the front table. He was watching me like a hawk.
"Probably some wanna-be guitarist checking me out," I thought.
I can always spot guys like that by the way they watch me - I know 'cause I've been the wanna-be guitarist watching many times.
Anyway, this guy comes up to me on break and says,
”I really like the way you play, man! I wanna shake your hand and I'm hoping some of your spirit rubs off. I'm a guitarist from Cincinnati but I'm going to be doing some things here and I'll be in and out of town for the next few months. Could I have your number? I'd like to get together with you."
"Sure" I said, and I gave him a card.
”Man I really want to give you my number but I don't have any cards."
"Here's another one of mine, just write your name and number on the back," I said.
He did and I stuck it in my pocket.
Next set Mama Ray called him up to sit in. He got up and just tore the place up. "Holy crap!" I thought, "Who is this guy?" I took out the card...it was Wilbert Longmire.
That's the only time I met him and to be honest I'd forgotten about the encounter until I heard about his passing. I have no idea what he had in mind but I have a regretful feeling about something, I know not what, that might have been.
I still have the card with his number:
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